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My friend is being told the name she picked is too 'white'.

(83 Posts)
Paige1991 Mon 18-Jan-16 16:12:59

My best friend is originally from Africa. She's pregnant and wants to call her little girl Lilly.....she has had the snide remark however, that it is too much of a 'white' name. So she wouldn't 'suit' it!

So my question is do 'you' believe that names have a place regarding the colour of skin or culture of a person? I think you should be free to call your baby whatever. I once knew a Matteo (sorry if the spellings wrong) and he was in no sense Italian!

I've never heard of something so silly and horrible!

Arfarfanarf Mon 18-Jan-16 16:14:39

who the hell said that to her?

what an arsehole.

Mind you, you get it a lot. Some people are really quite daft about names. Sort of a stick to your 'own' attitude. Bonkers.

TheCatsMeow Mon 18-Jan-16 16:17:31

That's ridiculous! There are some names that are more common in some cultures than others but call your baby what you want.

Paige1991 Mon 18-Jan-16 16:17:55

It's her family unfortunately... Not her friends. I think they want her to pick and African name. But she doesn't want to. Oh and just to clarify shes asked my to post this after I gathered good feedback and a post I put up myself. Thanks guys!

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Mon 18-Jan-16 16:19:31

On the one hand, yes that's nonsense. (I am reminded of my best friend at school, who was frequently told off my her grandmother for "eating white people food" - pasta).
Otoh, my son is half African and it's not by accident that he has a name with reference points etc in both his English and his Southern African heritage. Although I did also love the name - not sure I would have decided against a different name I loved, simply because it was entirely "un-African".

Flossiesmummy Mon 18-Jan-16 16:19:39

She should name her kid what she damn well wants! Lilly is a great name.

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Mon 18-Jan-16 16:20:01

told off *by her grandmother

TheCatsMeow Mon 18-Jan-16 16:21:18

What's the problem if it's a white name anyway? When I hear "Lilly" I don't associate it with any race personally...

Minty82 Mon 18-Jan-16 16:24:32

What?! What ethnicity are the people saying it to her? I would actually understand it more with something like Matteo as I think there is something quite special about names as part of a particular cultural heritage and I find it slightly odd when those connections are completely severed - eg people with no Irish background called Siobhan. But to decide that British names are off limits to people who live here but originated somewhere else, absolutely not! And especially a name like Lily - I mean it's a flower, it's about as culturally neutral as a name can get.

Minty82 Mon 18-Jan-16 16:27:11

Sorry, just saw that it's her family. Can sort of understand them wanting her to choose something with resonance for them...but it's her choice and she lives here, and Lily certainly doesn't scream 'white' to me, it would be gorgeous on a black child.

Quoteunquote Mon 18-Jan-16 16:30:55

Just tell her to start a list titled People never allowed to have contact with my child add the name of the stupid person who said this nonsense, to the list and stick it to the fridge.

As a small child in Asia I had a succession of Indian nannies all called Lilly, but it's never occurred to me that the name belonged to just one culture.

They could go with Agapanthus.

RiverTam Mon 18-Jan-16 16:33:06

There are a lot of children of African descent around here. Mainly names seem to be biblical or African (Nigerian/Ghanaian mainly). Lily would be quite unusual.

It's a pity her family see it as being a bad thing.

Sunshine511 Mon 18-Jan-16 16:41:33

This sort of prejudice really bothers me around names. I suppose, the only way I can get my head round it is that they must be seeing it like the way that people in the UK would be criticised if they ramdomly chose an Indian/Chinese/Italian name or something and didn't have roots from one of those countries, for example? Maybe that's how they're looking at it? Either way, I think it's ridiculous! Lilly is a gorgeous name which doesn't scream any particular ethnicity to me and even if it did, so what? I know a girl whose parents are from Zimbabwe who is called Lilly. Your friend may originally be from Africa but she doesn't live there now and I'm not surprised if her taste in names has been influenced by living here. I'm sure it will be nice for her daughter to have a name that is well recognised, easy to spell and easy to pronounce in this country.x

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Mon 18-Jan-16 16:49:32

Has just occurred to me that I know a Nigerian Lillian. confused

TheMouseThatRoared Mon 18-Jan-16 16:49:52

Tell her to ignore them. Many Africans have typically British names, it not unusual at all.
My dd has an old Persian name and she isn't remotely Persian!

Cleensheetsandbedding Mon 18-Jan-16 16:53:03

My friends baby is called ebony and she has blonde hair and she gets quiet a lot of 'but she is fair' comments. Maybe this is along those lines.

alltouchedout Mon 18-Jan-16 16:54:58

I (white, British, married to a Polish man) love the name Kwame, but did not feel able to use it. I don't know if that's quite the same thing though. And I know so many African people and people of African descent with typically Anglo names that it wouldn't ever seem remotely odd to meet a black child named Lilly.

LuciaInFurs Mon 18-Jan-16 16:58:33

My husband is white and I'm black and we've got quite a few comments about baby names and we don't even have children. I love Rafe/Ralph and have been told on more than one occasion that 'you can't name a half black baby a name like that', from close family members. It's a disgusting attitude.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Mon 18-Jan-16 16:59:27

I know an Asian named Bob - African named Steve -

Doesn't matter really - they usually "look" like their name - pity this lady voiced her opinion -

I kept the names to myself and I knew they would cause a ripple!!!

drspouse Mon 18-Jan-16 17:00:49

people in the UK would be criticised if they ramdomly chose an Indian/Chinese/Italian name or something and didn't have roots from one of those countries, for example

It is rather like that e.g. if you are a White British family with no links to India or Japan and call your child, say, Asha or Kumiko. It would as you say sound a little odd.

Lilly is however a biblical name, there are lilies of the valley in the Bible and there are lots of Black (albeit American) Gospel songs that refer to lilies of the valley.

Children whose parents are from Africa may choose to go back and live there in the future and they will always be embedded in the African community in the UK too. So the family may be concerned that the little girl won't fit in within her community in the UK.

Maybe they would be happy with a pair of names and telling the family "we're giving her this name because it's from the Bible and this name because it's from our African community and she can choose which one to use when she's older". I wouldn't be surprised if the African relatives started using the African one so she'd need to be prepared for that...

IfItsGoodEnough4ShirleyBassey Mon 18-Jan-16 17:06:41

I don't think I'd call a white child Ebony, and certainly not a blonde one, so I can kind of see their point. A culturally "white" name like Rosalind, or Alice or something, absolutely fine for a child of African origin living in the UK, but I'd personally would draw the line at Lily, just as I wouldn't go for Pixie if all the women in my family were six foot tall.

There's no need for her friends to be arsey about it though.

CwtchMeQuick Mon 18-Jan-16 17:10:34

I don't think Lily is a 'white' name confused

I do know a (white british) man called Marcus, who gets told a lot that his name is a 'black' name. When he used to travel into the city for work meetings everyone meeting him for the first time would be surprised when a white man turned up hmm the mind boggles

blankmind Mon 18-Jan-16 17:19:22

Lillies come in lots of colours, like people flowers

GasLIghtShining Mon 18-Jan-16 17:21:40

I wouldn't be surprised to see a black person called Lily.

A lot of names are based on religion so unlikely to find a white person called Ahmed or Mohammed but then a Muslim is unlikely to be called Catherine (cue someone telling me I am wrong)

I know a white person called Marcus - never thought of it a 'white' or 'black' name

IfItsGoodEnough4ShirleyBassey Mon 18-Jan-16 17:25:20

They do come in all shades, but they are a culturally ubiquitous simile for whiteness.

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